Welcome to Weekend Watch, your weekly preview of all the best U SPORTS action that can’t be missed across Canada West, the OUA, RSEQ and AUS.
Capital Hoops Classic: Ottawa vs. Carleton
In one of the marquee events of the year, Ottawa will once again play crosstown rival Carleton in the Capital Hoops Classic in OUA men’s and women’s basketball action on Friday night. This year however, the doubleheader will be hosted at the Arena at TD Place for the first time – the home of the Ottawa 67s and BlackJacks of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) respectively. It’s also where this season's joint men’s and women’s U SPORTS Final 8 Championships will be held next month.
The women’s side features the No. 2 Gee-Gees and No. 9 Ravens, who are coming in on different forms. The Gee-Gees have won 13 in a row and sit atop the OUA with a 17-2 record while the Ravens have lost four of their last five games but still sit second in the OUA East with a 13-6 mark. The matchup is also highlighted by some of the best players in the country. The Gee-Gees have top point guard Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus and a strong experienced supporting cast (Angela Ribarich, Katherine Follis, Bridgette Lefebvre-Okankwu). Meanwhile, the Ravens are led by leading scorer Alyssa Cerino, point guard Madison Reid and standout rookies Tatyanna Burke, Kali Pocrnic and Dorcas Buisa. The Ravens also lead the all-time series 8-4, but fell last year to the Gee-Gees for the first time since 2015.
On the men’s side, the No. 1 Ravens (19-0) will look to stay undefeated as the season winds down. Keeping that perfect mark intact will be tough with No. 6 Ottawa (15-4) on the opposite side of the court. Carleton has won the previous three editions of the event – with the Gee-Gees’ last win coming in 2016 – and have dominated the all-time series 11-2.
Meanwhile, one week after sweeping the Battle of Alberta Top 10 showdown, the No. 3 Alberta Golden Bears men (17-1) will look to clinch their second Canada West regular season titlle in three years as the conference schedule wraps up. The Golden Bears will have their hands full with another nationally-ranked opponent – this time with the No.10 Saskatchewan Huskies (12-6) Despite losing both games to Alberta, the No. 4 Calgary Dinos (16-2) sit only two points behind the Golden Bears for first place, meaning they still have a chance at clinching top spot as well in their home-and-home series against crosstown rival Mount Royal
Alberta and Saskatchewan split their only two regular season meetings last year, while Calgary hasn't lost to Mount Royal since Jan. 11, 2014.
Back on the women’s side, the Shoot for the Cure campaign starts to wind down this weekend with hosts including Algoma, Windsor, Mount Royal, and Bishop’s.
Carr-Harris Cup: Queens vs. RMC
Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT
It’s the last weekend of the regular season across the country and the defending OUA champion Queen Gaels (11-12-3) are looking for some very valuable points in their playoff chase when they battle their crosstown rival, the RMC Paladins (9-17-1) Thursday night. The historic Carr-Harris Cup will be hosted at the Leon’s Centre – home of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs – and features the oldest hockey rivalry in the world, which dates back to 1886. This year marks the 134th anniversary of their first meeting, with RMC coming in having clinched their first playoff berth since 2006 after a 4-3 victory over Ottawa last weekend.
In other OUA action, the No. 5 Toronto Varsity Blues (21-3-2) – having already clinched the OUA west title - visit No. 8 Guelph (16-6-5) on Friday night. In their last matchup on Jan. 11, the Blues blew out the Gryphons 8-2 on their home ice. Since losing to Toronto, Guelph has won four of its last five games, with Mississauga native Ryan Valentini leading the way. The former Sudbury Wolves forward is currently tied for eighth in the nation in scoring with 37 points.
No. 2 Saint Mary’s @ No. 4 UPEI
Saturday, 2:15 p.m. ET / 11:15 a.m. PT
The AUS regular season concludes this weekend with a Top 10 matchup that has major playoff implications, as first place in the conference is on the line when the No.2 Saint Mary’s Huskies (20-5-1) visit the No.4 UPEI Panthers (19-6-1). Saint Mary’s sits atop of the conference with 41 points with UPEI in third sport with 39. UPEI leads the season series 2-1, but Saint Mary’s leads the nation in scoring with 85 goals for on the season.
Other Top 10 matchups this weekend include No. 1 Concordia (13-2-2) hosting No. 6 McGill (9-4-4) on Saturday and No. 8 Nipissing hosting No. 3 Toronto on Friday.
No.10 Waterloo @ No.7 Brock
Friday, 6:00 p.m. ET / 3:00 p.m. PT
The featured Top 10 matchup in women’s volleyball this week sees the No.10 Waterloo Warriors (9-4) visit the No.7 Brock Badgers (10-3). Both regarded as elite teams, Brock is looking to take over first place in the OUA west division, sitting neck and neck with Western, and are coming off a home-and-home split with McMaster, while Waterloo has won five straight since the season resumed in January. In their only matchup this season, the Badgers prevailed on the road in five sets.
Another Top 10 matchup to keep an eye on is No.9 Thompson Rivers (15-5) visiting No.8 MacEwan (16-6) visiting for a weekend series. MacEwan has gained momentum of late, winning seven of their last eight. The teams haven’t met since a 2-2 draw back in the preseason back in September.
This weekend is highlighted by four individual sport conference championships.
In the east, the defending champion Dalhousie Tigers will look to retain both their AUS Swimming and Curling Championship titles in familiar surroundings. The Tigers go for their 23rd straight men’s and 19th consecutive women’s swimming titles in their home pool, while also hoping to keep the AUS curling banners for another year at the CFB Halifax Curling Club.
In Ontario, the McMaster Maurauders host the OUA Swimming Championships at the Toronto Pam Am Sports Centre. Last season, the Marauders women earned the team silver medal while the men came in fourth, with the Toronto Varsity Blues sweeping the team titles.
Finally out west, the CW Wrestling Championships descend on Calgary. Last year the host Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas took home the team banners, with the Dinos women earning the team bronze and Calgary men finishing fourth.
The 2020 U SPORTS Winter Championships begin Feb. 20-22, with swimming hosted by the Victoria Vikes and wrestling hosted by the reigning champion Brock Badgers in St. Catherines, Ont. The full schedule is available here.